Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Getting things in proportion

Taken from “Information is beautiful” – a website which puts information into visual form – always intriguing, often beautiful, sometimes scary.
I leave it to your judgement to decide which this graphic is. Each figure e.g. “$227 African debt” is billions of dollars.   In case you miss it, the beige bit at the bottom is the colossal cost of the worldwide financial crisis dwarfing everything else – and how! It’s probably worth clicking on the image to see it at its original size, if the text is too small or it overlaps anything else.


Thursday, 21 October 2010

And the dumb shall inherit the Earth (what’s left of it)

A couple of days ago the JEP did an editorial about the “falling” standard of election candidates and the already existing elected members of the States.

Here’s a flavour:

“After years of steady decline, Jersey is on the brink of a crisis in the overall quality of the States. The sad fact is that too few current Members have consistently displayed the combination of intellect, integrity and good will required to represent Islanders effectively in what, for a whole complex range of reasons, are extraordinarily challenging times.”

Basically, they wrote that things are bad and getting worse. At the Durrell sustainability breakfast the other day (separate blog post to follow) I heard a new term – industrialised individualism – which refers to what I have loosely referred to as the “yuppie” zeitgeist, that has been cultured and promoted since the “greed is good” days of the late 70’s to 80’s. I am not going to go too deeply into this at the moment but I believe an awful lot of the roots of our current problems gain their sustenance from the “ideas” of that social development. More to follow on this.

As we increasingly see so many leaders, aided and abetted by their expensive advisers, speaking from positions of wilful ignorance, and getting (and staying) elected there must clearly be a democratic demand for it. As is often the case, it has fallen to the Americans to take the next step and finally come up with the ideal candidate who’s proud to admit his qualities and is not ashamed to trumpet that he is completely free of rationality, intelligence, knowledge, ethics, consequential analysis, morals or any of the rest of that Age of Enlightenment malarkey, that seems to be thought of by too many as sooo last millennium.

Laugh at this comedy clip whilst uncomfortably feeling the hairs go up on the back of your neck at the underlying reality.



Original here:



Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Scooping the mainstream media

  • In a Press release today (October 14th), from the Energy Efficiency Service  of the Planning and Environment department, Sir Nigel Broomfield, Chair of the Jersey Energy Trust  announced a proposal for an aerial thermal imaging map of the Island, in partnership with the Jersey Climate Action Network (J-CAN) to provide a visual assessment of how well heat is retained by business premises and domestic houses. This will be a very valuable tool that, should the initial hope to put the results online be realised, will let anyone see how well insulated their property is with a few mouse clicks. Not only will it be beneficial for the environment by showing just how much heat is escaping, hopefully encouraging people to insulate and draught strip, but it will also help people to stop wasting money too if their house proves to be, heating wise, as leaky as a sieve.


Here’s an excerpt from the Press Release:

“The Jersey Energy Trust will be discussing the details of their future plans at their Autumn Reception taking place on the 14th October. The event is kindly being hosted by Ogier at their new premises Ogier House at 44 The Esplanade”

The Ogier building is the first in the Channel Islands to achieve a BREEAM “very good” rating for general environmental friendliness. Apparently there were certain peculiarities of the local situation that meant they couldn’t go for the “excellent” rating for new build offices.”

I have to say that I had quite an input into this thermal mapping scheme happening. It might not have happened if it wasn’t for me catalysing it. Back at the beginning of the year, I noticed that  G-CAN (Guernsey Climate Action Network/Sustainable Guernsey) had done some research into getting a thermal imaging map of their island so that people could easily compare and contrast the relative heat losses of their buildings compared with similar ones or the surroundings. Their investigation had stalled somewhat but I saw the extremely useful information that could come out of something like this if the whole Channel Islands were to do it, so I contacted G-CAN. To cut a long story short, I introduced the concept of getting the aerial survey people to do Jersey as well to J-CAN (Jersey Climate Action Network) who picked up the baton. Negotiations have been taking place ever since with the Planning and Environment department and its offshoots. Guernsey’s efforts are still little further forward but, too late, G-CAN/Sustainable Guernsey were offered a joint quote for both Channel Islands, which may have ended up being a little cheaper (not necessarily better though – quality information is much more effective). This is annoying as Jersey had been through the tedious tendering process and the deal was done and dusted so the Donkeys missed out. Jersey 1 Guernsey 0! It was indeed the prospect that the two islands could  have worked togther on this project to potentially achieve savings that initially motivated me to push the whole idea… The States, every now and again, comes up with a wish list which includes working with Guernsey to achieve savings.

My Guernsey G-CAN contact (Richard Lord) told me tonight (Wednesday 13th) that he is “still looking at sponsorship in Guernsey to see if we can go ahead and do a thermal image of Guernsey this winter.  There is some interest from Guernsey businesses but it is too early to say if they will offer funds.” When Jersey has its digital online thermal image information up and running before the Donkeys are even out of the starting gate, we here can all look North West and pity them.

I did actually blog about this initiative back in mid August but inadvertently broke the “confidentiality” that often seems to surround things like this and had to cancel my blog post sharpish.  However, with computers and the Internet, it's very difficult to completely eradicate something so I dredged up the old post and used it as the basis for this one.


Lisette Jones Tel: 01534 441663

Programme Manager, Energy Efficiency Service

Sir Nigel Broomfield Tel: 01534 869219

Chair, Jersey Energy Trust

Nick Palmer Media spokesman for J-CAN

Tel 01534 863972

Sustainable Guernsey

Tel: 01481 700688


Here’s my previous post:

Jersey Climate Action Network, in association with Guernsey Climate Action Network, have been brokering a thermographic map of the major Islands so that people can easily assess how energy efficient their houses, offices or commercial premises are. This information will be extremely useful to our governments as well.

How it works is that a plane flies over the islands in the depths of winter taking infra-red photographs of the land below which gives an image showing which buildings are hotter and which are cooler; this image is married to a digital map of the islands so that a user of the system can type in the address of a building and will see precisely how well (or otherwise) they are doing, compared to the neighbours, at keeping expensive heating energy inside the building rather than letting it escape outside because of poor insulation or such strange practices such as opening the windows in winter because it's too hot rather than turning down the thermostat!

Here's a link to a video about the system which has been widely used in Belgium.

World Environment News - Infrared Maps Highlight Energy Use - Planet Ark


Here is the sort of result this method comes up with

thermal map



Image taken from


Thursday, 7 October 2010

Flying in Jersey

Well, this video is not particularly exciting and there is no radical stuff in it but… it is us flying in Jersey at La Pulente on quite a good day. On my second flight (after the other two hang gliders had landed on the beach) I was flying with up to 6 paragliders. My glider is the green fluorescent one - not the blue and yellowish green one which is John from Oz, who is a jet pilot in his day job. My first take off of the day is at 1.20.

Warning. There is a slightly rude bit near the end when one of the young paragliders (also called Nick) waters the rabbits.